I mentioned my dinner-in-the-morning strategy last spring when I asked you to marinate drumsticks in buttermilk before heading off for the day. (Meanwhile, if Abby had her druthers, she would subsist on that buttermilk “fried” chicken and that buttermilk “fried” chicken alone for the rest of her life.) The strange science behind the idea is this: If you take one or two minutes in the morning to chop an onion or wash some salad greens in preparation for your meal that night, it will inexplicably end up saving you 20 minutes of prep time on the other end of the day.
If you think a two-minute slice or dice is something your morning routine can handle, then this recipe, a Lemony Roast Chicken that I first tested at Real Simple eight hundred years ago, is a good place to inaugurate the strategy. You can chop the potatoes, trim the beans, slice the lemons, even mix up the dressing in the morning and then, when you walk in the door after work (or after the vet emergency room visit…long story) then you will be a mix and a toss and a 45-minute roast away from dinner. How about that? The perfect amount of time to assist with homework and enjoy a glass of wine.
Lemony-Chicken with Potatoes and Beans
Adapted from Real Simple
Note: The green text indicates tasks that are recommended getting out of the way in the morning. You can do one of them, two of them, all of them. Up to you and your specific level of AM chaos.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large baking dish with olive oil or cooking spray.
Slice 2 lemons as shown and arrange in a single layer in the bottom of the dish as shown. In a large bowl, combine 4 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon juice from 1 lemon, 2 minced garlic cloves, salt, and pepper; wash and trim two handfuls of green beans and toss to coat. Using tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Chop 10 red potatoes into 1-inch chunks [to prevent browning, cover potatoes with water in a bowl if you do this in the morning] add to the olive-oil mixture, and toss to coat.
Arrange the potatoes on top of the beans. Toss four boneless chicken thighs in olive-oil mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the chicken in the dish. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken.
Roast for 45 minutes.